THE was mixed news from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) headquarters in Lausane, Switzerland as a German-born players was allowed to represent Malaysia, while in the same breath, the governing body made massive changes to the sport for the Asian Games.
Kevin Lim, who holds a Malaysian mykad, last played for UniKL in the Malaysia Hockey League in 2011 and then turned up in Perth when Malaysian went for a playing Tour there recently and impressed coach K. Dharmaraj.
As for the Asian Games, the FIH aanouced that there will be a new format where teams will play four quarters of 15 minutes each, with a break of two minutes for the first and third quarters, as well as commercial breaks. This will cut regular playing time from 70 minutes, to 60 minutes only.
And while coach K. Dharmaraj was happy with news of Kevin, he was still grappling with the change in format for the Asian Games.
"I was impressed with Kevin when he came for an unofficial trial with the Malaysian side during our Tour of Perth recently, and he should be able to make the team for the Champions Challenge in Kuantan (April 26-May 4) now that the FIH have approved and cleared our application to field him," said Dharmaraj.
Kevin, 27, was not impressive when he played for UniKL in 2011, but according to Dharmaraj, he is now a much better player.
"I was also not impressed with his performance with UniKL back then, but now, Kevin has become a much better player and I believe he would be an asset to Malaysia in the Champions Challenge," said Dharmaraj.
As for the new format, Dharmaraj said: "With playing tme cut by 10 minutes, there will be very little room to make mistakes as making a comeback from a goal down would be much more harder now. And I don't understand why the change was only made for the Asian Games, which is a qualifier for the Olympics, and not for the Champions Challenge, World Cup and the Commonwealth Games which would also be held this year."
Malaysia will be battling for the sole Asian Games ticket to the Olympics against South Korea, Pakistan, India, China and Japan.